A New Challenger Appears… A Lady!!!
February 26, 2011 § 3 Comments
Today my good friend Josh Wolf came up with a new idea for a game he wants to run. You can read it here. If you do not have a FaceBook account it is about running a light hearted one shot RPG based on the works and characters of Hayao Miyazaki. This then kicked off a bit of an internet debate with Jarys, from The Ace of Geeks podcast, on whether women need “light” games to get them interested. While I am an Egalitarian and believe that anyone is capable of enjoying any game type, I took up the mantle of the supporter for this game idea and then I got philisophical on the topic.
Here is my diatribe… rant… manifesto? I have no idea, but I am curious what you all think about what I had to say and the state of gamings demographics. Read it below the cut if the FB link didn’t work for you.
So with that said, I want to invite you all to vote on a poll on all of this.
“While I tend to agree with Jarys that ladies don’t need for us to market a game just to them to enjoy it… I also admit that our hobby has some serious gender issues. I hate to say it but Roleplaying is overwhelmingly a white male hobby that uses many of the gendered traits of that demographic to both appeal to itself and keep others out.
When it comes to LARPs that starts to disappear. Ryan and I can reliably expect a turn out of 1/3 female players for our large format L5R games. This is a stunning number to have as a constant in an industry that has difficulty even including women as 10% of its audience.
I think that the reason for this in LARPs is what Jarys is opposed to though. LARPing is light. It is light on rules, light on mechanics, light on structure, light on dice, light on massive historical backgrounds. Does the subject have to be light hearted? No necessarily, but I will point out that Changeling and Fable LARPs have a much higher concentration of ladies than even Ryan and I get for Magical Samurai wedding games.
It is the lightness of crunch and perhaps even the setting and subject matter that does tend to draw in more ladies. Hate it if you like, but if running one (1) Fable or Miyazaki LARP brings in new female players that found rolkeplaying to be off putting or male centric before, that is a good thing for the hobby.
Providing an alternative to people that never would have considered playing before reading a description for a fun and light game is not pandering of patronizing. It is only pandering if you seek to exploit and not support and patronizing if you use it as a ghetto and don’t encourage them to join the community as a whole once the game is over.
I write this not as a feminist but as an equalisist. Ladies, transgendered, gay and lesbian, African, Latino and Asian brothers and sisters come out and join us in gaming and make it a better & more inclusive place with your presence, or we will continue to suffer without it. I support you on this Josh and if you need a hand writing some characters, let me know.”